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Common Questions

What is neuropsychological testing? 

A neuropsychological evaluation assesses cognition and behavior by the administration of formal tests that identifies an individual's cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Neuropsychological evaluations typically assess the following areas of functioning:
  • orientation
  • intellectual abilities and academic achievement
  • attention
  • learning and memory
  • language
  • executive functions (e.g., abstract reasoning, problem solving)
  • motor and sensory abilities 
  • visuospatial abilities
  • personality/emotional functioning


What is the purpose of a neuropsychological evaluation? Who needs one?

Neuropsychological testing is carried out for a number of different reasons. An evaluation is often completed to examine the effects of a brain injury or neurological conditions such as a stroke, seizure disorder, dementia, or Parkinson's disease. A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation can assist in diagnosis, aid in treatment recommendations for use in a medical or rehabilitation environment, and assist with decision making regarding an individual's ability to return to work, fitness to drive, disability, testing accommodations, and forensics. 
 
  
What is involved in a neuropsychological evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation consists of a comprehensive clinical interview to gather relevant background history followed by testing. Tests are non-invasive and may be given on a computer, orally, or through the use of paper and pencil. The length of time to complete testing varies based on referral question and person's age, but typically last three to six hours. Make sure you sleep well the night before testing. If you use hearing aids or wear glasses, make sure to bring them to your appointment. After the evaluation, I write a report that includes background information, results of the evaluation, and recommendations that will lead to the next steps of treatment planning. Feedback is provided whenever possible.


Does what we talk about in an evaluation remain confidential?
 
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a patient and psychotherapist. A successful evaluation requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.  Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement. As most referrals for a neuropsychological evaluation come from physicians, it is important to share information obtained in the evaluation with your medical team. However, by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. Confidentiality is typically waived in forensic cases, which is discussed at length prior to beginning the evaluation. 
 
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
 
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
 
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
 

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